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Cumbrian teachers could lose quarter of their pay in 'rebalance'

Teachers in Cumbria could lose a quarter of their salary if they are brought in line with private sector pay locally.

Have your say

Jay, although it is possible to earn more without a degree, the median hourly rate of pay for all graduates aged 21 to 64 is £15.18, 70% more than the non-graduate rate of £8.92.

Posted by Tom on 30 May 2012 at 15:10

Some good and valid points Paul M but lest not forget that although it is a vocation people who go into teaching expect fair reward and pay does matter - you can't expect them to go into it for low pay, unless you expected Doctors to do the same, or Lawyers, etc. Years of study to qualify should result in higher pay. I agree somewhat about many comments about many qualified people feeling superior, it's often true, but not in the teaching profession. I have first hand experience of working with degree qualified people in managerial jobs who, quite frankly, were useless even though they were paid a lot more. Perhaps we should distinguish degree qualified people and degree qualified jobs?

I'm not in favour of pay by results in teaching as that would open up a can of works. How would you compare a teacher in a school that may be in a deprived area, with a significant proportion of children coming from troubled backgrounds and getting no help at home, children who stay only a short time, i.e. travellers or children of those in refuges, schools with high numbers of children who start school not being able to speak English or have it as a secondary language. Compare that with a school in a well-to-do area, with comfortable and more supporting backgrounds, with more children having computers and access to the internet etc (OK, I'm generalising but it's quite true on averages)?

Would you pay the latter more? After all, their exam results are usually better. Or would you pay the first more as the teachers have a far more difficult job to do?

It's an interesting question as exam results don't tell the full story.

Posted by Anon on 29 May 2012 at 11:47

Jim says that "Teachers get paid to mark exam scripts on *top* of their salaries". I think you'll find the marking being discussed is marking mock exam papers, exercise book, tests etc. All done to allow the teacher to assess the child. Yes teachers can take on paid marking of exam papers but they are few and far between.

I am not sure where you get the information from about the £150,000 to £200,000 lump sum - I won't get a fraction of this. Maybe if you'be been teaching for 40 years and you are a Head...

Posted by Bev on 29 May 2012 at 09:25

Oh the great 'US' and 'THEM' debate about teachers....

Lets remember that good teachers are in it because they want to be there, the money is not the reason people go into teaching (same could be said for nursing), it's a calling, a vocation, it is, beyond a 'job'

The sad fact is, that having a vocation doesn't pay the rent/mortgage etc and that is what drives people over and above what they feel they should do, or how they want to help people. It's like that and that's how it is.

Regional pay,, well up here in Cumbria where the cost of living is relatively low, then having national pay bargaining is good for the employee, in the south it isn't, swings and roundabouts. So it is to be accepted that some resistance is going to be seen.

Teachers do get many many more holidays than the rest of us, but remember they cannot choose their holidays, they are set down for them, and many teachers will work 12 or 14 hour days to deliver classes, out-of-school activities, marking etc and they do not get extra money for this, so on balance they probably work something on a level with non-teachers of the same salary.

I think teachers should be remunerated like the rest of us, on results. The annual pay rise should go and they should get paid extra if they do a good job. They should also introduce some kind of flexible use of holidays, so that teachers can have some say in when they take time off (same goes for the TA's too, they are wholly underestimated )

As for degree's and some expectation of superiority, yes I too have seen that. My personal favourite is to 'give them enough rope' and they soon learn. A degree proves you can learn from others, it takes real skill to learn from yourself.

Posted by PaulM on 28 May 2012 at 11:17

Jay, once again you forget something totally obvious to everyone else. Teaching requires that the person has a degree, not to elevate that person above others as you suggest but to ensure they are properly trained, experienced and fully capable of doing the role. If teachers are to set an example, which they do, then it's only fair they are rewarded correctly for the job.

Personally I think to pay someone just over £30k for such a role isn't enough. I'm not suggesting silly figures, like your salary, but it should be considerably more than the average wage that is often referred to as being between £26k and £28k.

One thing regional pay doesn't take into account is housing costs - how could any teacher afford to move into the Lake District for instance and buy a home? They couldn't, and the region would struggle to find permanent teachers.

I don't see any "over inflated egos", only hard working people in difficult jobs expecting a fair wage for the difficult job they do and if anyone wishes to leave because they feel the pay doesn't reflect that then it's fair and reasonable for that person to consider leaving - as anyone in any job would do. How about you taking a significant pay cut? Would you be happy with that?

I'd like to know what you would suggest is a fair wage for a teacher in Carlisle. Come on Jay, let us all know.

Posted by Anon on 28 May 2012 at 08:49

Martin - I am not moaning about my job, or threatening to walk out as I throw my dummy from the pram. It's some teachers who are doing this. If teachers are so upset about a low salary, then why take a low paid job - after all, they are superior beings with university degrees aren't they? If they don't like it, they should leave - they (like us all) are pebbles in the ocean, and there are others who would want to do their job. A person in a job they want to be in are an asset as opposed to whining, moaning over inflated egos who want a salary their job does not support. I would love to see the salaries of good, hard working, popular teachers doubled but as there are so very few of these people, they will be dragged down by the majority of moaning minnies. Reality check required, and it's coming.

Posted by Jay on 27 May 2012 at 18:54

Jay, if the "the salary actually says it all" why would teachers accept earning less? And as someone who earns twice as much as a teacher, shouldn't it be the likes of you who shuts up, sets an example and leads the way - in whatever way it is we need to somehow be led?

Posted by martin on 27 May 2012 at 15:27

Point partly taken anon. However, who would be jealous of somebody in a £30 something thousand wage - to be honest! Also yes I seriously do say some teaching assistants connect better and sit patiently helping children achieve what a busy teacher may well miss. University degrees. No, I'm afraid they do not elevate anybody. I never went to uni, I worked from age 16 and my salary is double what you refer to as a salary that people can be envious of. I have had many promotion interviews against people with degrees and in fairness I didn't win them all. I did have to work hard but I manage people with degrees who clearly think they are better than me. The salary actually says it all.

So to the teachers who go to work and strive to do a good job for the children, and to earn their pay; and to the precious teaching assistants who do the same then we taxpayers owe a debt of gratitude to you. The over inflated egos and people who indulge in the belief that they can bring society to its knees by "walking out", I still say shame on you. This country now needs people to shut up, and set an example. If teachers can't lead the way then it's a shame.

Posted by Jay on 26 May 2012 at 19:13

As a teacher now working outside the mainstream sector but with experience in schools here and in inner London, I have come across many fellow professionals from various parts of the UK. I am a born-and-bred West Cumbrian, part of the long-established brain-drain from the area, but who has come back. I am not off the point of this article, as will become clear.

West Cumbria seems to many an outsider as some weird little enclave of social deprivation and lack of ambition, tacked on to the "green and pleasant" land which is the Lake District – a crude and unfair assessment. Just like any other large urban conurbation, West Cumbria has its challenges, but I would like to bet that the majority of teachers and other professionals coming in from outside do not come here primarily for the challenges of the area – those of us with experience of inner-city schools know that challenge can be found elsewhere in abundance. The biggest attraction, and one which employers looking for professionals always promote in their job advertisements, is the rural idyll on the doorstep. So, if the trade-off is a home in the country, there may be an argument for a reduction in salaries in Cumbria, some might say. There is a big “BUT” coming, however.

How would schools in Whitehaven and the rest of West Cumbria attract staff to work with some of the real challenges this area poses, if staff could face the same challenges working in Inner London and our larger cities while earning a much higher salary? With that salary, they could still have the rural idyll but just commute into work, as many do up and down the UK. With such a crude and unfair measure of regional pay rates, there would be a relentless slide to the bottom for many areas. Do we really want to be bottom of the heap, preserving the brain-drain which has been at the root of many of West Cumbria’s challenges, or do we want professionals committed to working with the real challenges here?

Posted by Donald Williamson on 26 May 2012 at 16:35

Jim, I just tried the dept of education kalkoolatur and for someone with 44 years service (the most it would let me enter) retiring on 31.5 grand (top of main salary scale) it says lump sum of £52k. You can commute up to £95k but that extra is just taken away from the annual pension, so it's basically a gamble on whether you'll think you'll die sooner or later :-) To get your 200K you'd need to be earning 70k, which is headteacher territory. At that point you're running an organisation of hundreds of staff and thousands of kids rather than being a teacher.

Posted by martin on 26 May 2012 at 15:51

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